Travel

5 Ways to Learn a Language While Traveling

You can't always learn enough of a language before a trip, so it's good to know how to learn on the road.

 

Ideally, you would speak the language of every country you plan to visit long before you actually stepped foot on the plane. However, the reality is that you most likely need some communication help while you’re on the road. Take a look at these five tips for learning a language while travelling and start practicing your local accents.

Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are such a great learning tool. The best part is you can download them to your device of choice and listen to them during those long bus, plane or train rides. Personally, I get motion sickness if I read in a moving vehicle, so podcasts save me from endless boredom on long trips. Check out this list of free foreign language podcasts.

Join a Language Exchange

If you are going to be in one place for a week or longer, try joining a language exchange. No matter where you are, chances are there are some people looking to practice their English. You can find language exchanges at local universities, as well as on sites such as Meetup.com.

Watch TV

Pretty easy, right? Surf the local channels for something that could help you learn the language. This works especially well if you can find a show you are already familiar with. In Latin America, re-runs of The Simpsons and Friends are playing seemingly 24/7. Since you already have some context to what is happening, it is not too difficult to pick up some new vocabulary. If you can’t find anything familiar, try a soap opera or a children’s show—both will offer such exaggerated emotions that you can use visual cues to help figure out the words.

Listen to Music

Pick a few local artists that strike your fancy and buy an album or two. As you listen, read the lyrics and follow along. Once you get the song stuck in your head, you will be singing it all the time, forcing yourself to practice your pronunciation and flow.

Talk to Everyone

Okay, not everyone, but everyone who seems friendly. Forget about sounding stupid or messing up and just try your best. When it comes to speaking a foreign language, awkward communication is better than no communication. You will find that most locals (especially those who don’t speak other languages) will be impressed by your efforts.

Learning a language on the road certainly calls for some unconventional study tactics, but it also gives you a strong motivation to improve quickly. Use the excitement that travel provides you to power through your studies and learn as much as you can.


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Former stressed out over-planner,now a travel loving freelancer who refuses to choose just one profession. Spanish speaker. Sarcasm Lover. Ice cream enthusiast.